How the 2013 Supreme Court Ruling Affects Estate Taxes for Same-Sex Couples

How the 2013 Supreme Court Ruling Affects Estate Taxes for Same-Sex Couples

Significant protections became available for same-sex married couples based on the July 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

On August 29, 2013, the IRS and U.S. Department of the Treasury — in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling — announced that legally married same-sex couples can receive the same federal tax treatment as other married couples.

Attorneys take taxation carefully into account when working with clients to preserve their wealth and implement estate planning tools. In the past, law firms had to use a variety of instruments in an attempt to provide same-sex couples with as many benefits as possible, all the while overcoming hurdles that denied them the estate tax exemptions and other estate planning benefits of married couples.

One of the major benefits that legally married same-sex couples now enjoy is a married couple’s portability:

  • Just as a surviving spouse in a traditional marriage has the advantage of unlimited federal tax-free exemption on inherited property when the other spouse dies, so do same-sex spouses who were married in a jurisdiction that recognizes their marriage.
  • Same-sex spouses are also exempt from federal taxes levied on property or money transfers made while their spouse is still alive.
  • Exemptions include unlimited gifting between same-sex spouses, provided that the spouse receiving the gift is a U.S. citizen.

Our experienced lawyers in Tampa can review your estate planning based on current laws. We can also help you customize an estate plan that preserves your wealth.